Your business story often makes sense for you and that’s great. But how do you structure it so that it’s clearly understandable for other people too? Keep reading as today, I’m sharing how to structure your business story.
What does having a structure mean?
When I say I’m going to show you how to structure your business story, what I mean is that I’m giving you some tips on how to tell your story so that it makes sense for other people and not only you.
As you might have noticed the traditional tales have a beginning (often starting with “Once upon a time”), a middle part and an ending. Presenting your story is like writing a book, novel, short story, fable, the pilot of a tv series: it needs a structure. You need to accompany the audience through a journey that makes sense.
Andrew Stanton from Pixar explains that beautifully (although my personal favourite is Shonda Rhymes in her Masterclass).
Why do we need a structure for a business story?
Any story, even your business story, is a journey. And it needs to flow as such. So there are several reasons why you should have a structure:
- To avoid getting lost and forgetting your point
- To give people a map to follow
- To avoid taking more time than it’s necessary
- To keep the audience engaged
- To keep things interesting
You might think about it as a treasure hunt. If you organise a treasure hunt and don’t give people the clues to move around, it’s not going to be fun, it’s going to be hell: everyone will be lost, without knowing where to go.A business story is like a treasure hunt, you need to give people clues and a map to follow Click To Tweet
How to structure your business story
At its very core, a business story is like any other story. Which means that the traditional rules of storytelling apply to it. Your story needs to have a beginning, a middle section, and an end.
The beginning section of your story is when you set the scene and present your characters. Oftentimes, is also where you are introducing a problem.
In the middle section of your business story, you share with your audience what you did to address the issue. You mention how you took action.
The end is the closure, the moment when you share the lessons learned. This is when you demonstrate to your audience, for instance why you are equipped to help them with their issue.
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“I’m done, nobody cares about what I do.” You know how many times I said that to myself? I lost count. 😫 The first time it was when I was producing a documentary to fight the stereotypical image media have about migrants from Africa. And then again the year after, and the year after that. Every year I go through the same process of putting all my energy into a project. And every year I feel like I’m running on a treadmill, going nowhere. That’s when I take a break. Think again why I’m doing what I’m doing. 🌠 And then, the magic happened: the documentary I worked on starts bouncing allover the world, I train young students in Italy, the UK, the US. I’m invited to run workshops in three continents and asked to write books chapter. Yes, yes, yes, my bank account is happier but gosh my heart is feeling even better. Clarity made me understand how much powerful it is to make a difference in people’s life. ♥️ We all are this powerful 🔥 We can all make a difference, you're probably doing that now. And there isn’t one single best way to do that, no matter what EVERYONE else says. You don’t have to be someone else, you don’t have to change your personality. Who you are is enough. Getting routinely lost in the dark helped me to create a system that I called SHAPE and that’s the way I make sure I get out of the dark. So if you are a woman doing your best to make a difference in the world, If you want to get out of the shade and share your message, project, event, business in a targeted way that doesn’t alter who you are send me a message 👩🏽💻 #leadership #communication #followformore #strongertogether
The theory to a great story
Another way of designing the structure of your story is by using Freytag’s pyramid. Gustav Freytag was a German author who in the middle of the 19th century theorised that a great story should follow six steps
- Exposition: the presentation of the characters and is the setting up of the scene
- Rising Action: everything that goes wrong, the complications, difficulties, struggle
- Climax: the turning point of your story which you might think of as the moment of
- Falling Action: when all the pieces are going into the right place and everything starts to work out
- Resolution: the situation settles or in your case, improves because of the actions you took before
I love how Susan Cain goes through these steps on her TEDxTalk. Check it out
You are the character
The best way to structure your business story is really to see it as a journey where you are the main character. The difference is that your journey needs to be something for your audience, it needs to teach them something about yourself or your products or services.
Go through this post again and use the structure to write your story. And let me know in the comments: how did it go?